Michael Pfleger plans protest to demand DNC funding for Chicago’s unhoused before Democratic National Convention

The Rev. Michael Pfleger points to the sign outside the Faith Community of St. Sabina Catholic Church bearing his simple message for the Democratic National Committee.


The Rev. Michael Pfleger is up in arms … but it’s not about guns this time.

Watch for Father Pfleger, the legendary peace priest renowned for his anti-gun crusades, to head up a protest Feb. 15 demanding the Democratic National Committee commit to a plan to set aside funds to house Chicago’s homeless residents in advance of the Democratic National Convention being held here this August.

“Our message is simple: ‘No money put aside for the homeless: No convention,’ ” said Pfleger.

 “If we can find billions for Ukraine and Israel, why can’t we put aside money for the homeless?” he asked Sneed in an exclusive interview.

“People sleep in the streets and tents in Chicago, and now there are more than 68,000 homeless on the city’s streets, not including the huge influx of migrants into the city, causing tensions to ramp up, and leaving poor Black and Brown residents to fight over crumbs,” said Pfleger.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger holds one of the signs he plans to use during protests outside a meeting of the Democratic National Convention Host Committee on Feb. 15, calling for the Democratic National Committee to put aside money to provide homes for Chicago’s unhoused residents.


 The protest will be “peaceful” and “informational,” held on the doorsteps of Chicago’s legendary Union League Club, where the Democratic National Convention Host Committee is meeting, said the Rev. Pfleger, senior pastor of the Faith Community of St. Sabina Catholic Church in the city’s Auburn-Gresham neighborhood.

“We will be passing out literature describing our demands,” he said. “We have got to draw the line somewhere on the abandonment of the poor. We want to make sure the DNC host committee pushes a platform and an agenda that just doesn’t trickle down to just nice events in fancy restaurants and posh parties in private clubs … when people are living in shelters and on the streets.

“And, quite frankly, the DNC will bring big money to Chicago!” he said. 

Pfleger says 125 to 150 homeless residents and migrants come to the doors of St. Sabina daily “looking for food, clothes and bus passes … and any kind of help they can get. We are now spending about $12,140 a week with no help from Catholic Charities or the city.”

“And we are maxed out right now,” he said. “The migrant situation has only put steroids on [the] homeless situation in Chicago.”

“You can bet the eyes of the world will be in Chicago in August,” he said.

‘It’s time for people of conscience to come together to take care of each other.”

Stay tuned. 

Bobbin’ with Robins…

It’s chirp chat time, folks!

Am I just smoking posies or do robins seem to be everywhere this winter? 

And are they tweeting: “How about them berries!”

Last month, hordes of the red breasted songbirds were chirping and hanging akimbo atop a massive profusion of red berries dangling from my front yard tree. As my father would say: “I’ve never seen such a such!”

Erupting spontaneously into lyrics of the 1952 hit song:”Poor little robin, walkin’ to Missouri, he can’t afford to fly”… (yes, yes, yes…a HUGE hit when I was 9 years old), I was stunned by the red rookery attacking the massive berry bounty. Robins were roosting everywhere.

An American robin pictured standing in melting snow in Minooka in 2009.

Sun-Times file

Shouldn’t they be heading south by now?

A quick call to my birdman, Tim Joyce, who manages Wild Birds Unlimited in Glenview, was a startler.

“Well,” chirped Joyce, “we’ve been flooded with the same robin observation.” And he had a surprising explanation. 

Joyce claims when we spruce up our property with crabapple and berry-bearing trees and their alluring white and pink blossoms it carries an unintended — but positive — impact on robins. The birds eat worms and insects in warmer months, but require a berry and fruit diet in winter.  

“A dry spring and early summer probably caused stressed trees to go into production overdrive in case they didn’t make it and wound up producing a bountiful gift for the robin,” he said. “It was an unintended consequence of good human behavior.” 

Celebrated as the last to leave and the first to return, robins don’t necessarily travel all that far south. Many just settle into trees in our forest preserves during the winter. 

After all, as the old song says, “They can’t afford to fly.” 

Sneedlings …

Saturday birthdays: Former Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, 80; actress Blythe Danner (mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow), 81; actress Morgan Fairchild, 74; Amal Clooney, 46; Nathan Lane, 68. … Sunday birthdays: Rocker Alice Cooper, 76; and former U.S. veep Dan Quayle, 77.

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